Please explain, if you can why any of this would surprise me. I found myself asking the obvious, "Mossy, what are you doing?" She flipped a red curl back and rolled her eyes heavenward. "Wouldn't you ride a buffalo, if you could?" she retorted. Well, she had me there. Seriously, wouldn't you?
Who, indeed, wouldn't want with the abandon of our Native American ancestors to run with a herd of buffalo? To know the wildness of an untamed land and to see a vista of which few had viewed? Yellowstone gives one a glimpse of that possibility. It fires the imagination in it's rugged beauty. One can easily picture: crouched with bow-pulled taut, a moccasin's-clad fellow at the edge of the treeline. Before him an elk and his cow. With nostrils flaring the elk starts as he catches the scent of danger. The arrow flies, but in a rare occurrence misses its mark. The two run free as does their hunter. Free, freedom from so much of what fills our ever-waking moments.
Slowly, the buffalo move around our car, seeming to pretty much ignore it and it's occupants. And for a while I moved on with them. In my mind, Crooked Horn and I rode alongside Mossy and her friend. We headed down the rolling hill listening to the occasional snort and rumble from the herd. A crystal clear stream beckoned ahead as it dipped and bubbled over rock. As Old Faithful could be seen in the distance I wondered if they sought it's warmth in proximity for a night's rest. With a toss of his head the largest bull broke into a trot as we grew closer to the stream. Funny, he didn't drink but stood proudly with his head held high as most of the herd did. Why, was that a stagecoach splashing through a shallow area of the stream?
The buffalo is a symbol of a vanished past, a link to a frontier heritage. However, no romantic notion of such should ever cloud one's view of an animal that still remains wild. Buffalo at Yellowstone number close to 4000 in the park and can weigh over 2000 tons. They still can and do inflict injury on any observer who fails to maintain their distance. So despite my daydream, as Crooked Horn steps toward the car, I lean back and quickly put up my window. The herd passes on. But despite, a quick warning from me Mossy continues her journey with them. Maybe Mossy can tell me where they will rest for the night............... Now was that a parasol I saw in the window of that stagecoach?